Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – The Elliot Lake Red Wings stormed back from a four-goal deficit and rallyied for a 6-5 overtime victory against the French River Rapids Sunday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Noelville Arena.
It looked good for the Rapids early on as they scored three times in the opening 10 minutes of the contest to seemingly send them on their way.
Josh Russell began the scoring for French River just over four minutes into the proceedings with his 16th of the season.
The home side then tallied twice in quick order midway through the period on markers from Matthew Hill and Alexandre Dubuc, which spelled an early end to Elliot Lake’s Sean Guerin start in net, in favour of back-up Cameron Smith.
Going ahead by four, Matthew Campanella notched his 15th at 12:14 of the second stanza.
Beginning their comeback late in the frame, Silas Crawford was credited with his 18th of the season at 16:56 in beating Rapids’ goalkeeper Matthew Perdue.
They then saw Cameron Dial strike on the power play in the final moments of the period to bring the guests closer.
Down a pair entering the third, but still on a lengthy man advantage, Elliot Lake continued to battle back, beginning with Sam Noad tipping in a Zachary Vickerman shot from just inside the blueline.
The Red Wings then tied it off another Vickerman man advantage attempt from the point that was stuffed in by Ryan Daponte, who had a couple of cracks at it in front.
Elliot Lake then went ahead in the late going as Ethan Mercer sent a dump in that saw affiliate Connor Dubois win a race for the puck and put a shot towards the net that bounced in the air and flopped in past Perdue at 17:07 for his first NOJHL goal.
Getting their goalkeeper out for an extra skater in the final minute, French River tied it after the Red Wings’ Smith tried to clear the zone, but it was knocked down at the point by Jack Ginocchi and eventually fired back towards the target by Matthew Campanella whose attempt was tipped in by Hill with 32 seconds left on the clock.
Heading to OT, Elliot Lake eventually completed their comeback in the opening minute after Alex Antoine skated down the ice on a two-on-one, but was stopped by Perdue, only to see Dantas swoop in and deposit the rebound for the game-winner.
The comeback victory helped the Red Wings win a second straight game and improve to 16-32-1-2 overall.
Picking up a point in defeat, the Rapids record went to 7-39-2-1.